Nanoelectronics NESCS- Nanomaterials for Energy Storage, Conversion and Sensing

The group NESCS conducts both fundamental and application-oriented research on new nanomaterials and nanostructures that can be used for energy storage and conversion. Particular emphasis is at the moment placed on the preparation of hollow, porous nanostructures and ordered nanowire/nanotube arrays of various inorganic materials, which not only possess large surface areas but also facilitate the transportation of electrolytes/ions/charge carriers. Thorough structural characterization in conjunction with studies of photoelectric, electrochemical and catalytic properties are carried out in the group in order to elucidate the structure-property relation, to get a fundamental understanding about the underlying physics and chemistry for energy storage and conversion, and in turn to help materials design and optimization. Our research activities are primarily focused on the following areas:

Energy storage. The group is working on 1) fabrication of hybrid/composite nanostructures and 2) large-scale synthesis of porous/hollow nanostructure, for use as electrode materials in Li-ion/Li-S batteries and supercapacitors.

Solar energy harvesting. Research efforts are devoted to: 1) the development of inorganic-organic hybrid solar cells and 3) photoelectrochemical cells for solar fuel production

Electrocatalysis. The group is committed to developing Pt-free electrocatalysts for use in hydrogen/oxygen evolution and oxygen reduction reactions.

We invite motivated students to write their master thesis within our research group. Currently we would welcome motivated students to work with us on the following research topics here at INL:

Fabrication of carbon nanofibers by electrospinning for use in lithium-ion batteries

Fabrication of TiO2 nanotube arrays for use in solar cells

Large scale fabrication of composite nanostructures using atomic layer deposition

Hydrothermal synthesis of metal oxide/sulfide nanostructures for use in lithium-ion batteries and photocatalysis

Chemical synthesis of graphene/graphene oxide for use in high-performance energy storage

Fabrication of inorganic-organic hybrid solar cells

Large scale synthesis of silicon nanostructures for use in next-generation lithium-ion battery anodes

Development of non-precious, earth-abundant electrocatalysts for hydrogen/oxygen evolution


Group Publications:


41) D.H. Xiong, Q.Q. Zhang, W. Li, J. J. Li, X.L. Fu, M. F. Cerqueira, P. Alpuim, Lifeng Liu*, “Atomic-layer-deposited ultrafine MoS2 nanocrystals on cobalt foam for efficient and stable electrochemical oxygen evolution” Nanoscale  2017  DOI: 10.1039/C7NR00140A

40) W. Li, X. F. Gao, D. H. Xiong, F. Xia, J. Liu, W. G. Song, J. Y. Xu, S. M. Thalluri, X. L. Fu, Lifeng Liu*, “Vapor-solid synthesis of monolithic single-crystalline CoP nanowire electrodes for efficient and robust water electrolysis” Chem. Sci. 2017 DOI: 10.1039/C6SC05167G

39) Shaozhuan Huang*, Lin Zhang*, X.L. Lu, Lifeng Liu, L. X. Liu, X.L. Sun, Y. Yin, S. Oswald, F. Ding, O. G. Schmidt, “Tunable pseudocapacitance in 3D Ti3+ self-doped TiO2 nanomembranes enabling superior lithium storage performance” ACS Nano 2017 11, 821

38) D. H. Xiong, W. Li, Lifeng Liu*, “Vertically-aligned porous Ni(OH)2 nanosheets supported on carbon paper with long-term oxygen evolution performance superior to RuO2 nanocatalysts” Chem Asian J. 2017 DOI:10.1002/asia.2016701590

37) W. Li, D. H. Xiong, X. F. Gao, W. G. Song, F. Xia, Lifeng Liu,* “Self-supported Co-Ni-P ternary nanowire electrodes for highly efficient and stable electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution in acidic solution” Catalysis Today 2017, DOI: 10.1016/j.cattod.2016.09.007


36) M. Kundu, Lifeng Liu* “Easy fabrication of nanohybrids comprising Co3O4 nanoparticles on electrospun carbon nanofibers for use as binder-free lithium-ion battery anodes” Sci. Adv. Today 2016, 2, 25252.

35) W. Li, X. F. Gao, X. G. Wang, D. H. Xiong, P. P. Huang, W. G. Guo, X. Q. Bao, Lifeng Liu,* “From water reduction to oxidation: Janus Co-Ni-P nanowires as high-efficiency and ultrastable electrocatalysts for over 3000 h water splitting” Journal of Power Sources 2016, 330, 156.

34)  D. H. Xiong, W. Li, X. G. Wang, Lifeng Liu,* “Surface passivation of hematite photoanodes with a phosphorus overlayer for enhanced photoelectrochemical water oxidation” Nanotechnology 2016, 27, 375401

33) C. Y. Wu, W. Huang, Lifeng Liu, H. Wang, Y. W. Zeng, J. Xie, C. H. Jin,* Z. Zhang, “Synthesis and phase transformation of hierarchical structure LiFePO4 for Li-ion Battery” submitted to CrystEngComm 2016, accepted DOI: 10.1039/C6CE01294A

32) Dehua Xiong, X. G. Wang, W. Li, Lifeng Liu,* “Facile synthesis of iron phosphide nanorods for efficient and durable electrochemical oxygen evolution” Chem. Commun. 2016, 52, 8711-8714.

31) Joao Nunes-Pereira, Manab, Kundu, Attila Goren, Maria M. Silva, Lifeng Liu, Senentxu Lanceros-Mendez,* “Effect of filler type on poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-trifluoroethylene) based composite separator membranes on Li-ion battery performance” Composites Part B 2016, 96, 94-102.

30) W. Li, X. G. Wang, D. H. Xiong, Lifeng Liu,* “Efficient and durable electrochemical hydrogen evolution using cocoon-like MoS2 with preferentially exposed edges” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy 2016, 41, 9344-9354.

29) X. G. Wang, W. Li, D. H. Xiong, D. Y. Petrovykh, Lifeng Liu,* “Efficient and stable overall electrochemical water splitting using self-supported carbon paper electrodes integrated with bi-functional nickel phosphide catalysts” Adv. Funct. Mater. 2016, 26,4067-4077.

28) X. G. Wang, W. Li, D. H. Xiong, Lifeng Liu,* “Fast fabrication of self-supported porous nickel phosphide foam for efficient, durable oxygen evolution and overall water splitting” J. Mater. Chem. A 2016, 4, 5639.


27) R. E. Sousa, M. Kundu, A. Goren, M. M. Silva, Lifeng Liu, C. M. Costa, S. Lanceros-Mendez, “Poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-chlorotrifluoroethylene) (PVDF-CTFE) lithium-ion battery separator membranes prepared by phase inversion” RSC Adv. 2015, 5, 90428-90436.

26) Y. Chen, Lifeng Liu, J. Xiong,* Y. Qin, C.L. Yan*, “Porous Si nanowires from cheap metallurgical silicon stabilized by surface oxide layer for lithium ion batteries” submitted to Adv. Funct. Mater. 2015, DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201503206.

25) J.L. Lado, X.G. Wang, E. Paz, E. Carbo-Argibay, C. Rodriguez-Abreu, Lifeng Liu, K. Kovnir, Y.V. Kolen’ko, “Design and synthesis of a novel highly active Al-Ni-P foam electrode for hydrogen evolution reaction” submitted to ACS Catalysis 2015, 5, 6503.

24) Lifeng Liu,“Efficient water oxidation using α-Fe2O3 thin films conformally coated on vertically aligned titania nanotube arrays by atomic layer deposition” Mater. Lett. 2015, 159, 284-288.

23) X.Q. Bao, D. Petrovykh, P. Alpuim, D. Stroppa, N. Guldris, M. Costa, H. Fonseca, J. Gaspar, C.H. Jin, Lifeng Liu,* “Amorphous molybdenum oxysulfide modified p-type silicon microwire arrays for efficient photoelectrochemical water splitting” Nano Energy 2015, 16, 130-142.

22) Enrique Carbo-Argibay, X.Q. Bao, C. Rodriguez, M. Fatima Cerqueira, D. Y. Petrovykh, Lifeng Liu, Y. V. Kolen’ko, “Up-scaling the Synthesis of Cu2O Submicron Particles with Controlled Morphologies for Solar H2 Evolution from Water” J. Colloid. Interf. Sci. 2015, 456, 219-227.

21) Xiao-Qing Bao, M. Fatima Cerqueira, Pedro Alpuim, Lifeng Liu,* “Silicon Nanowire Arrays Coupled with Cobalt Phosphide Spheres as A Low-Cost Photocathode for Efficient Solar Hydrogen Evolution” Chem. Commun. 2015, 51, 10742-10745.

20) X.Y. Lu, J.W. Deng, W.P. Si, Lifeng Liu, C.L. Yan, S. Oswald, O.G. Schmidt, “Trilayered Pd/MnOx/Pd Nanomembranes as Cathode Materials for Rechargeable Li-O2 Batteries with Extremely Low Charge Potential” Adv. Sci. 2015, 1500113.

19) X.G. Wang, Y.V. Kolen’ko, X.Q. Bao, K. Kovnir, Lifeng Liu,* “One-step synthesis of self-supported nickel phosphide nanosheet array cathodes for efficient electrocatalytic H2 generation” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201502577.

18) X.G. Wang, Y.V. Ko’lenko, Lifeng Liu,* “Direct solvothermal phosphorization of nickel foam to fabricate Ni2P-nanorods/Ni integrated electrodes for efficient electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution” Chem. Commun. 51 (2015) 6738. (Highlighted as back cover)

17) M. Kundu, Lifeng Liu*, “Binder-free electrodes consisting of porous NiO nanofibers directly electrospun on nickel foam for high-rate supercapacitors” Mater. Lett. 144 (2015) 114.

16) X.Q. Bao, Lifeng Liu*, “Platinum nanoparticle promoted performance improvement in silicon/PEDOT:PSS hybrid solar cells” Mater. Chem. Phys. 149-150 (2015) 309-316.

15) M. Kundu, Lifeng Liu,* “Electrospun porous nickel oxide nanofibers for high-performance electrochemical energy storage” Sci. Lett. 4 (2015) 123.


14) X.H. Liu,* W.P. Si, X.L. Sun, J.W. Deng, S. Baunack, S. Oswald, Lifeng Liu, C.L. Yan,* O.G. Schmidt, “Free-Standing Fe2O3 Nanomembranes as Anodes for Li-Ion Batteries with Long Cycling Life and High-Rate Capability” Sci. Reports 4 (2014) 7452.

13) X.L. Sun, W.P. Si, X.H. Liu, J.W. Deng, L.X. Xi, Lifeng Liu, C.L. Yan, O.G. Schmidt, “Multifunctional nickel/oxide hybrid nanomembranes as anode materials for high-performance Li-ion batteries” Nano Energy 9 (2014) 168.

12) X.Q. Bao, Lifeng Liu*, “Improved photo-stability of silicon nanobelt arrays by atomic layer deposition for efficient photocatalytic hydrogen evolution” J. Power Sources 268 (2014) 677.

11)  Lifeng Liu,* X.Q. Bao, “Silicon nanowires fabricated by porous gold thin film assisted chemical etching and their photoelectrochemical properties” Mater. Lett. 125 (2014) 28-31.

10)  L. Zhang*, J.W. Deng, Lifeng Liu, W.P. Si, S. Oswald, L.X. Xi, M. Kundu, G.Z. Ma, T. Gemming, S. Baunack, F. Ding, C. L. Yan, O. G. Schmidt, “Hierarchically designed SiOx/SiOy bilayer nanomembranes as stable anodes for lithium ion batteries” Adv. Mater. 26 (2014) 4527.

9)   X.L. Sun, C.L. Yan,* Y. Chen, W.P. Si, J.W. Deng, S. Oswald, Lifeng Liu, O.G. Schmidt, “Three-dimensionally curved NiO nanomembranes as ultra high rate capability anodes for Li-ion batteries with long cycle life” Adv. Energy Mater. 4 (2014) 1300912.

8)  X.Q. Bao, R. Ferreira, E. Paz, D.C. Leitao, A. Silva, S. Cardoso, P.P. Freitas, Lifeng Liu*, “Ordered array of tilted silicon nanobelts with enhanced solar hydrogen evolution performance” Nanoscale 6 (2014) 2097-2101

7)   Lifeng Liu,* Xingsen Gao “Fabrication of Bi2Fe4O9 nanotubes decorated with iron-rich nanorings by Rayleigh instability induced sol-gel synthesis in porous anodic alumina” J. Nanosci. Lett. 4 (2014) 6.


6)  Lifeng Liu*, “Nano-aggregates of cobalt nickel oxysulfide as a high-performance electrode material for supercapacitors” Nanscale 5 (2013) 11615.

5)  Manab Kundu, Cheuk Chi Albert Ng, Dmitri Y. Petrovykh, Lifeng Liu* “Nickel foam supported mesoporous MnO2 nanosheets with superior lithium storage performance” Chem. Commun. 49 (2013) 8459.

4)  Manab Kundu, Lifeng Liu,* “Direct growth of mesoporous MnO2 nanosheet arrays on nickel foam current collectors for high-performance pseudocapacitors” J. Power Sources 243 (2013) 676.

3)  Lifeng Liu* “Porous Co16S16O96 nanosheets as a new electrode material for use in supercapacitors” J. Power Sources, 239 (2013) 24.

2)  Daoai Wang, Lianbing Zhang, Woo Lee, Mato Knez, Lifeng Liu,* “Novel three-dimensional nanoporous alumina as a template for hierarchical TiO2 nanotube arrays” Small 9 (2013) 1025. (highlighted as back cover)


1)  Daoai Wang,* Lifeng Liu,* Fuxiang Zhang, Kun Tao, Eckhard Pippel, K. Domen, “Spontaneous phase and morphology transformations of anodized titania nanotubes induced by water at room temperature” Nano Letters 11 (2011) 3649.

Former Group Members

Thomas LaTempa (Postdoc), Teasha Fitztham (Intern from MIT), Manab Kundu (Currently working at a Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway), Justin Bao (Postdoc), Xiaoguang Wang (Taiyuan Institute of Technology, China).


Group manager Lifeng Liu